Transport Full speed ahead while saving fuels

The passenger car is the hub of the transport sector. According to the IPCC (IPCC, 2007), by the middle of this century the number of cars worldwide could more than double. It will thus be all the more important to produce greener cars. In view of an oil price that has almost quadrupled since 2001, this will also lead to massive savings for the consumer. Germany therefore supports the plan of the European Union to apply standard carbon dioxide limits to all new cars in Europe by 2012 aiming at a reduction from an average of 170g of carbon dioxide per kilometre today to 120g of carbon dioxide per kilometre. This corresponds to an average consumption of 5 litres of petrol per 100km. Further reductions will be necessary and are planned up to 2020 with a view to the technological progress.

The German government will support this development with economic incentives: in the future, the annual motor vehicle tax will be calculated on the basis of carbon dioxide emissions rather than the size of the vehicle. Similarly, the motorway toll charged for lorries will depend upon the carbon dioxide emissions of the vehicle.

As well as the vehicles themselves, it is also important that fuels become more environmentally friendly. By 2020, refineries will be required to blend an annually increasing share of ethanol and biodiesel with petrol and diesel, up to a final share of 20 per cent. At the same time, sustainability standards will ensure that the cultivation of raw materials is sustainable and does not entail the destruction of valuable forest areas.

At the European level, Germany advocates the incorporation of international air and shipping traffic into emissions trading. The European Union is currently devising corresponding regulations, which will apply from 2011.

The transport concept is rounded off by the promotion of public transport. Germany has a fully developed bus and rail network that receives public funds since bus and rail travel secure climate-friendly mobility.

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